Library Research Guide
A literature review is:
The purpose of a literature review is to:
It benefits you as a researcher by helping you:
establish the context and significance of the problem
discover appropriate subject vocabulary
discover prominent journals and authors on your topic
identify what has been researched and where gaps may be found – underused methodologies, designs, populations
focus your research topic
Answering some of these questions as you read the literature you have found will help you figure out the context, the relationship between articles, and where they might fit in your literature review.
The literature review should deal with relationships – how do the articles relate to each other? How do the articles relate to your research?
A systematic review is a structured, comprehensive review and analysis of the literature on a particular topic. Although systematic reviews originated in the health sciences, they can be used for social sciences topics as well.
Adapted from: Kysh, Lynn (2013): Difference between a systematic review and a literature review. figshare. Poster. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.766364.v1
The PRISMA format (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) provides extensive resources and checklists on conducting a systematic review. See the book Documentary Research in the Social Sciences (Tight, 2019) and in particular the chapter Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses for more information specific to the social sciences (access limited to K-State eIDs).
The University of Saskatchewan has compiled a very thorough and helpful Synthesis Review Toolkit.